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Oct 12, 2007 15:21 EEST
October 12 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria will export some 3.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in 2007, down from 7.7 billion kWh last year, an official said on Friday, confirming earlier forecasts of drastic drop in power exports.
Bulgaria used to cover over 70% of the electricity deficits of its neighbours before closing down a second pair of Soviet-made 440-megawatt reactors at its sole nuclear power plant at the end of 2006 under presure from the EU. The closure, aimed at addressing nuclear safety concerns voiced by the EU, left the Kozloduy nuclear plant with two operating reactors of 1,000 MW each and sharply reduced Bulgaria's electricity exports.
“NETC has exported some 3.0 billion kWh from January to September […] and the target for the whole year is about 3.6 billion kWh,” the CEO of state-owned power export monopoly NETC, Lyubomir Velkov, told a news conference.
No electricity shortages are expected in Bulgaria in the coming winter, even if domestic consumption is at the high end of forecasts, because the country's thermal power plants have sufficient stockpiles of coal, Velkov added.
Domestic electricity consumption rose by 3.9% in 2006, above the annual 2.4% to 2.9% growth rate target set in NETC's development plans up to 2020.
Bulgaria has installed capacity of over 5,000 MW of thermal power plants and about 2,600 MW of hydro power plants. In 2006 the country awarded a 3.99 billion euro deal to Russia's Atomstroyexport to build a new 2,000 MW nuclear power plant.
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